Tonawanda News — Frank Budwey said he is stepping away from the supermarkets his family has owned for the majority of the last 86 years.
Budwey’s Markets, with three locations in North Tonawanda, Kenmore and Newfane, will come under the control of the Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative in the next 30 to 60 days, according to Budwey, 64, who said he is going to relinquish ownership and retire.
However, Dave Winicki, vice president of retail and development for the wholesaler, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that while talks about a sale were ongoing it was still too premature to call the transaction complete.
“There is no deal right now,” he said. “There’s still things that have to be done, a sales agreement that has to be made that is not signed. At this point the only thing I can say is that it’s too early to get into it.”
The company supplies wholesale goods to more than 100 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, but has also dabbled in buyouts involving local grocers, according to Winicki, including stores in Franklinville and Salamanca.
Budwey, who made his announcement on Tuesday, said he has used Olean Wholesalers’ products for the last decade, and has been mulling over the decision to sell the business for the last two years, adding that he’ll keep an advisory role at the North Tonawanda locale even after the potential sale goes through.
Budwey said he believes that the company intends on keeping 430 employees currently working at his three locations, and continue the legacy of his namesake.
“I’ll retain and lease the properties,” he said. “We worked out a good deal so that the three stores will stay in business.”
The grocery store was first launched in 1922 along Oliver Street by Budwey’s grandmother, then passed down through the generations to his mother and father. Budwey said he took ownership of the store beginning in 1971, sold it to Jubilee in 1994, before buying it back in 2000 and adding locations in Kenmore and Newfane.